Americans’ Economic Sentiment Unchanged Despite Record-Low Confidence In U.S. Job Market

Economic sentiment continued to plateau over the past two weeks as gains in confidence in personal finances and making a major purchase balanced out record-low sentiment towards the job market and a major decline in confidence towards the overall economy. The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) fell 0.2 points to 44.6, marking the third consecutive reading within this 0.2 point range and indicating a steady position of low consumer confidence. The reading was particularly weighed down by a continued drop in confidence in the job market, which surpassed last reading’s record-low to a new historic low of 28.8.

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May’s individual indicators have been marked by a substantial divergence between confidence towards the job market and the overall U.S. economy and the remaining indicators. Though overall confidence has remained steady, May has seen dramatic declines in job market and broad economic confidence, which have now fallen 5.8 and 7.1 points, respectively, from their April highs. Confidence in the job market broke last reading’s record-low, falling 3.0 points over the past two weeks to a new historic low of 28.8, while confidence in the U.S. economy fell 4.3 points to 49.1. Simultaneously, confidence in making a major purchase, personal finances, and the housing market all recorded sustained rebounds. Confidence in making a major purchase and personal finances rose the most over the past two weeks, increasing by 2.5 and 2.2 points, respectively. Confidence in the housing market also increased by 1.6 points to 49.7.

Changes in sentiment come amid continuously high jobless claims as 2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, bringing total filings during the pandemic to 38.6 million people. The sobering numbers highlight that businesses are still laying off workers while states are increasingly moving to reopen their economies. There has also been a large economic impact on small businesses. Over 100,000 small businesses have permanently closed, including three percent of all restaurants, and many of those left standing are still concerned about reopening. There are, however, signs of economic life as air travel, hotel bookings, and mortgage applications all seem to be rebounding.

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The ESI’s three-day moving average began the two-week stretch on May 13 at 42.5 before dropping to its low of 42.1 on May 18. The reading then fluctuated heavily, but moved upward, ending the reading on May 26 at its peak of 47.2.

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The next release of the ESI will be on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.

About the Index

The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (“ESI”) is a “living” index that measures U.S. adults’ expectations for the economy going forward, as well as their feelings about current conditions for major purchases. The primary goal of the Index is to accurately measure movements in overall national economic sentiment, and to provide a more sophisticated alternative to existing economic sentiment indices. Unlike other prominent indices that release consumer sentiment estimates infrequently, the HPS-CivicScience Index is updated in real time as responses are collected continuously every hour, every day. Large-scale cross-tabulation of survey responses and consumer attributes enable more granular analyses than are currently possible through prevailing measures.

For a more detailed overview of the Index and the underlying methodology, please request a white paper, and follow us on Twitter – @HPS_CS.

About Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS)

Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) is an analytical public affairs consulting firm with offices in Washington, D.C. New York, and California. We integrate substantive analysis with communications and believe a deep understanding of business and economics leads to more effective public engagement and better outcomes for our clients.

For more information, visit Hamilton Place Strategies by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @HPSInsight.

About CivicScience

CivicScience, Inc. provides the leading intelligent polling and real-time consumer insights platform, the InsightStore™. Its proprietary platform powers the world’s opinions and quickly gets that data to the decision makers who care. Every day, CivicScience polls ask millions of people questions related to thousands of topics, while its powerful data science and big data technology analyzes current consumer opinions, discovers trends as they start, and accurately predicts future behaviors and market outcomes. CivicScience polls run on hundreds of premier websites, in addition to its own public polling site at CivicScience’s InsightStore™ is used by leading enterprises in marketing research, advertising, media, financial services, and political polling. For more information, visit CivicScience by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @CivicScience.